The search for an actor to portray The Notorious B.I.G. has finally ended, as Fox Searchlight has hired Brooklyn-based rapper Jamal Woolard to play the part in the upcoming biopic “Notorious.”
According to Reuters, the film will be directed by George Tillman Jr. (“Soul Food”), and goes into production this month.
Among the other parts cast are Sean “Diddy” Combs, played by Derek Luke (“Catch a Fire”); Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace, played by Angela Bassett (“Akeelah and the Bee”); and Tupac Shakur, played by Anthony Mackie (“Brother to Brother”).
Production held an open casting call last fall to find someone to play the late Biggie, in hopes to find a non-actor who could rap and imitate Biggie, rather than a professional actor who might need to be taught how to rap.
Woolard, also known as Gravy, has released a few albums, though he may be best known for being shot before a radio appearance outside of New York’s Hip Hop radio station Hot 97 two years ago – after which he proceeded with the interview.
Voletta Wallace chose Woolard due to what she described as “Jamal’s charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile…He is a talented and charismatic actor, and I am excited that he will bring Christopher’s character to life.”